By Michel Fily, January 21th, 2019
GREGORY is a street artist and illustrator from the center of France, whose particular universe is filled with creatures and fantastic animals, a bit like the supra-modernized image of a « Cabinet of Curiosities ». It is an experimental work, technically but also emotionally demanding. And the result of this work is powerful and evocative, between classic figures from the mythological and medical iconography and fleeting portraits of wild animals, precariously tamed … GREGORY has had exhibitions of his work in many galleries in his region of origin, but also in Lyon and elsewhere in France. He has painted many murals, but also on other mediums, in the frame of partnerships, like with the brand Antiz, in 2017. Urban Street Art Urbain met him at Street Art City.
Hello GREGORY, can you introduce yourself?
I am a painter and a draftsman, or a draftsman and a painter; it all depends on the chronology on which you position yourselves. I have been a graphic designer, a teacher … I am an artist.
What triggered your artistic career?
The starting point of my artistic practice started immediately after my studies as a graphic designer. I quickly realized that this job, as I had been taught it, would not suit me, and that I would have to work under the yoke of the authority of others … I abandoned the computers for the pencils. And when I came to a level of drawing that seemed good enough for me, I started painting, then bombing, and so on … Today, the oil painting challenges me. I also did screen printing and learned lettering… My desire to learn and improve in all techniques does not rest, I have to continually try new things…
What are your inspirations and influences?
As for the inspirations, first the urban environment and in particular the world of skateboarding nurture my art, then comes the nature. As for the influences, for a long time it was the world of the illustrations and the tattoo. Today, with Instagram, I collect images of artists of all kinds: Street Artists but also sculptors, contemporary painters, typographers … They all inspire me.
What are your techniques and creative medias?
I work on paper, on canvas, on wood, on used old bombs, on everything that can do the trick. For the technique, it is rather a routine: I paint masses of colors that I detail an detail till I am satisfied, then I re-work the whole with lines. As a result, my tools range from Rotrings to paint rollers, brushes, Poscas, airbrushes … Nothing resists me!
Tell us about your meeting with Street Art City …
I was stunned during my first visit to this huge place, lost in the middle of nowhere and where time stops … Street Art City is a bit like a museum, but not just any museum. One where everything is interesting and whose fallow aspect reinforces the feeling of being « suspended » …
How was your immersion in the room of Hotel 128?
This was a stroke of luck: my friend, Ted Nomad, told me about the project and introduced me to Sylvie Iniesta, the » ship’s captain ». She agreed to give me a room and I experienced ten days of intense creation. I got up very early every morning to do the maximum, I took my meals very fast to quickly return to work and in the evening I remained quiet to be able to work even more and even better the next day. I keep a very good memory of this experience. People were very caring around us, in order to allow us to give ourselves completely to our art and all we had to do was painting continuously. Gradually, I started “resonating” with the place and my room ended up “vampirizing” me, but in a positive way. I think that’s why there’s such an emotional charge in Hotel 128.
What would you like to create in people’s mind with your work?
I would like them to take a different look at our common and ambitious world. I am part of these « disturbers », who care about the climate, the future of the planet … When I made my room at the Hotel 128, I was going to become a dad, and it’s with this awareness of a future father that I painted. Every day, I look at my son and I think about what I have to do for « his » planet. Through my work, it is for the safeguard of the environment that I militate.
Is it easier or more difficult to be a graffiti artist than to be a painter?
A painter can work comfortably in his workshop, take the time to re-serve himself some coffee, to smoke a cigarette … A graffiti artist has to go on the field, to find a wall. And he is never certain not to be disturbed or prevented, while working in a wasteland or near a loot bridge …
What do you think of the evolution of Street Art today?
As in contemporary art, everything can be found. Impostors and geniuses. Overall, it’s going in the right direction, if we take as examples artists who perform installations of « Total Art » genre, such as Vhils, Swoon, Pose … Yok and Sheryo are also very good. There are Street Artists who work in resonance with the history of art without copying their peers, and there are others, who have never recovered from Basquiat … Unfortunately, the public and the buyers don’t always know Street Art or the history of art well enough. This knowledge would allow them to better appreciate the works and the researches of artists …
What do you think of your success and what are your dreams?
Dreams and success … For the moment I walk my way trying to answer my artistic desires. I’ll see where that takes me …
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